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The Belgian has been out of action for over a month but confirmed that he is approaching full fitness after playing in the Gunners’ 2-1 League Cup victory over Bolton Wanderers

Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has confirmed he is ready for regular Premier League football after a number long spells out with injury.

The defender played on Tuesday night in the side’s 2-1 home win over Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round of the League Cup.

The Gunners have confirmed that although the 25-year-old had to be withdrawn from the pitch with cramp after 84 minutes, he is likely to start this weekend against title contenders Chelsea.

Vermaelen told Arsenal’s official website after the League Cup win: “I feel great, I trained yesterday with the team and I felt good straight away so I felt confident for tonight.

“Personally I don't believe in that [needing games to regain sharpness]. If I come back from injury after a long time I don't believe in coming back and getting rhythm.

“I think it is just in your head and a mental thing - if you are a football player you have to be there straight away. That's why I wanted to play today and I think it's good.

“It was a good game for us, we fought hard and it was a deserved win for us I think.”

Vermaelen underwent treatment on his Achilles tendon on September 6 and had not played for the north London club since.

The former Ajax defender, who signed at the Emirates from the Dutch club in 2009, has been sorely missed in an Arsenal defence that has conceded 16 goals in the Premier League in the seven matches since his lay-off began.

He has played five times for manager Arsene Wenger’s side this season – already equal to the amount he played last campaign, when he was similarly struck down with an Achilles injury while on international duty.

The Gunners currently lie seventh in the Premier League and are currently top of Champions League Group F.

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